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Friday, 8 November 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan strikes the Philippines

Friday 08 November 2013

One of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land has slammed the Philippines, forcing millions to take shelter.

Packing sustained winds of up to 320 km/h (199mph), Typhoon Haiyan has left many dead and destroyed entire towns.

Terrifying wind speeds were greater than those of Hurricane Camille which hit Mississippiin 1969. Gales whipped up 19ft waves which to battered the islands of Leyte and Samar.

The storm ripped apart buildings and triggered landslides as it ploughed across the country's central islands.

The Philippineshas experienced more than its fair share of super typhoons over the past decade, according to experts. There were at least three of these powerful events in nine of the 10 years between 2002 and 2012.

Read more via BBC News here

Thousands of people were evacuated from villages in the country's central regions, including a province devastated by an earthquake last month. In the areas directly affected there was no power. People had no water and there has been significant damage to shelters.

There were reports that there were storm surges as high as two storey houses.

More here via ABC News

The humanitarian impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan threatens to be "colossal", said Patrick Fuller, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

About a million people took shelter in 29 provinces, after President Benigno Aquino appealed to people in Haiyan's path to leave vulnerable areas, such as river banks, coastal villages and mountain slopes. More via ITV News here

One of the worst storms on record, it destroyed homes, schools and an airport in the eastern city of Tacloban.

Neighbouring Samar island was also badly affected, with reports of 300 people dead and 2,000 missing.

The Philippine government has so far only confirmed the deaths of 151 people throughout the country, but hundreds of thousands have been displaced (Sun 10 2013)

Houses in Tacloban were flattened by the massive storm surge that accompanied Typhoon Haiyan.

There's no clean water, no electricity and very little food.

City officials said they were struggling to distribute aid and that looting was widespread. The final death toll is expected to be near 10,000

Sunday - The Philippineshas yet to resume communications with officials in Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 that suffered the worst of the typhoon. Reports say the sea flooded the entire city. More here

The head of the UN Disaster Assessment Co-ordination Team, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, described "destruction on a massive scale" in the city of 220,000 and said: "The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Oceantsunami. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris." More here

Special Report from BBC News here

The Philippine Red Cross succeeded in getting its assessment team in to Tacloban but had not managed to get its main team of aid workers and equipment to the city, said Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon.

"We really are having access problems," he said.

The city's airport was shut to commercial flights, and it would be three days before a land route was open, so organizers were considering chartering a boat for the 1½-to-2-day trip, he said.

"It really is an awful, awful situation." More details here

Sources: BBC News; BBC Weather; Al Jazeera; ITV News; ABC News; Mail Online; The Guardian; CNN

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